There are a number of EHR software providers, and in time you will find a solution that meets your SNF’s needs. However, because not all software providers are created equal, it will behoove you to proceed with some caution and take adequate time for research and planning.
STEP 1: Evaluate Your Needs
The first steps in choosing EHR software are to evaluate your business, determine a budget and identify your strategic goals. You will want to select software with features that facilitate progress toward your goals. For example, if one of your goals is to improve revenue cycle management, you may want to consider software that has robust integrations and/or billing and reporting features.
Once you’ve identified your needs and goals for the software, you can evaluate and compare software providers. Create a Request for Proposal (RFP) that asks vendors for information about their organization, products, and services and about the estimated costs, implementation process, training, ongoing support, and any other details that will facilitate decision-making. Then, distribute the RFP to potential vendors.
The core, fundamental features that EHR software should offer can be found in the Institute of Medicine’s Key Capabilities of an Electronic Health Record System, and include:
Patient health information
Access to medical results
Order (prescriptions, labs, tests, and other services) management
Decision support (reminders, prompts, and alerts such as to potential drug interactions)
Connectivity and communication among providers
Patient support (patient access to tools and education)
Administrative processes (scheduling)
Reporting and population health (disease surveillance)
Interoperability is an important feature to consider. The software should provide integration with pharmacy, therapy, and other integration partners as well as with systems such as general ledger accounts payable, which would allow for financial statement generation.
In addition to available features, cost is a key concern. The main factor affecting the cost of the software is whether the system will be cloud-based or executed in-house. A cloud-based solution will consist of a monthly subscription cost. Conversely, housing the server yourself may require an expensive up-front cost, which over time may be less than a monthly subscription, if you have the resources to manage an in-house solution. Most software vendors only offer one or the other option.
When comparing costs among providers, be wary of hidden costs. Make sure you are clear on what is included and what is extra. You don’t want to find out later that the features you wanted are cost-prohibitive or that there are hefty setup or implementation fees you did not include in your budget.
STEP 3: Additional Research
Once you have a narrowed-down list of potential software providers, a few additional exercises will help you make a final decision, including:
Schedule site visits and demonstrations with each provider to test-drive the system and ask questions.
Contact providers’ references and talk to colleagues and other system users to get their feedback.
Research the providers online and read reviews.
After you’ve selected a provider, ensure that the contract clearly spells out costs, payment terms, warranties, ownership of data, and specifics relating to the features to be included.
With a dedicated team of certified EHR trainers and implementers holding 20+ years of experience, Richter can help your organization increase efficiency, productivity and profitability by leveraging the power of your EHR.